Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Driving around the Philippines, taking the ro-ro and backpacking through the Philippines for one month.



On Saturday night back at home, living a #Travelife, I invited a lovely couple from Europe to dinner. This couple has literally driven the length and width of the Philippines, reaching places in the Philippines I never would have dared to even set foot in.

Each time, they've set off in their 4WD from Manila and reached their destination via highway and a couple of ro-ro ferries to take them from island to island.

Driving for 12 hours straight is pretty usual for them. Once, they drove 17 hours non-stop from Catbalogan to get home to Manila.

Scroll down to read more about driving around the Philippines... 



NO PLANS, NO RESERVATIONS.
JUST AN ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT.

For most of these pretty amazing adventures, they just drive off with a destination in mind -- like driving from Manila to Siquijor, for example, or to Bantayan Island -- and a general idea of how to get there.

No driver and no security precautions. And no timetables, no hotel reservations, no real idea of where to stop for the night. They just stop off in some town and try and find lodgings in a nondescript Philippine town -- whatever is available.

I'm squeamish about space and cleanliness so this is something I can't even begin to imagine.


RIDING THE RO-RO BOATS
IN THE PHILIPPINES

Sometimes they get to a port only to find that a ro-ro has just sailed off and another won't be leaving until the next day.

Then they have to find a place to stay in what is pretty much the middle of nowhere, living their own version of a Travelife.

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THE TABLES ARE TURNED AT DINNER

Now I have to say. I've pretty much traveled the world and had some amazing adventures of my own. In fact, I've had way more interesting adventures than most people.

So when travel becomes the talk at the dinner table, I'm usually the one holding fort, keeping everyone in raptures about my experiences in exotic destinations.

But on Saturday night, in my own home, there I was -- literally the whole night -- at the edge of my seat and with my mouth open, listening to their driving adventures.


THE MOST ADVENTUROUS FOREIGNERS
I'VE MET

I said: "You're very adventurous, and you're also very brave."

Brave is an understatement here as both of them are as blond and blue-eyed as you can imagine. And they've traveled all alone to the most remote places in the Philippines, including in the southern Philippines.

Actually, I take that back. They weren't alone. They had three children with them, including a three-year-old baby.

And this is where I fell of my seat, by the way, imagining a foreign couple who can't speak Tagalog and whose first language isn't even English, with three young children driving for hours through remote provinces of the Philippines.



CHANGING MY VIEW OF THE WORLD

I said: "Wow. You've changed my view of traveling the world. I don't feel like I've traveled at all, hearing your stories."

The husband then said: "Then you should hear about the 79-year-old lady from my country who backpacked around the Philippines for one month all by herself with virtually no money and just a knapsack. She flew out of the country recently with not even one peso left in her pocket. That really amazed me."




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